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Old Apr 19, 2004, 10:13 AM   #1
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Default 7Hi has problem with very bright scenes!

I discovered something 7HI (and possibly most Minolta digital cameras) owners might like to know. It seems that the program that steps up the shutter speed and f-stop as scene brightness increases stops at a certain EV value. The camera (in any auto mode with ISO Auto) will turn the shutter speed and/or (depending on mode) red to indicate an over exposure condition and then refuse to use a higher shutter speed or small lens opening (again depending on mode). For example on Arperature mode it may select a shutter speed of 1/500 and f-8 and show the shutter speed in red, indicating an over exposure, when if it would just use say 1/1000 sec, all would be fine.

This is not a serious problem, as it has to be a sunny snow or beach scene to cause it. Also, since one would expect the camera to underexpose in these mostly white scenes, the over exposure the camera produces is at least little worse (and may be better) than the normal underexposure you get if you forget to compensate for it. Manual mode will also allow a proper exposure, but the 7Hi is not an easy camera to use in manual mode (unless you use an external light meter).

My real complaint is that Minolta doesn't seem to think there is any problem (although they confirm what is happening) and say it happens with the A1 and A2 as well (I can't verify this personally). They have no intention of doing anything about it.

This is in contrast to the response from Olympus when I identified a problem with an Olympus IS1 many years ago. Their main interest seemed to be "how can they make the customer happy". Minolta's response (service centre in Canada) was that they would inform Japan, and there was nothing else they could do.

Again, I don't blame Minolta for having a design or software problem, many products do, but I do fault their response. Possibly I wasn't able to contact the right people, but I tried.
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Old Apr 19, 2004, 10:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: 7Hi has problem with very bright scenes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GBustin
I discovered something 7HI (and possibly most Minolta digital cameras) owners might like to know. It seems that the program that steps up the shutter speed and f-stop as scene brightness increases stops at a certain EV value. The camera (in any auto mode with ISO Auto) will turn the shutter speed and/or (depending on mode) red to indicate an over exposure condition and then refuse to use a higher shutter speed or small lens opening (again depending on mode). For example on Arperature mode it may select a shutter speed of 1/500 and f-8 and show the shutter speed in red, indicating an over exposure, when if it would just use say 1/1000 sec, all would be fine.

This is not a serious problem, as it has to be a sunny snow or beach scene to cause it. Also, since one would expect the camera to underexpose in these mostly white scenes, the over exposure the camera produces is at least little worse (and may be better) than the normal underexposure you get if you forget to compensate for it. Manual mode will also allow a proper exposure, but the 7Hi is not an easy camera to use in manual mode (unless you use an external light meter).
I have seen this on my 7i. It happened when there was a bright scene with some dark backlit areas that the camera might think are the subject of the photo. This ONLY happened in matrix metering mode (where the camera tries to figure out what type of picture you are trying to shoot).

One example was when I was taking a picture of the sky above and between two houses. The pattern of bright/dark was similar to what you would get if taking a picture of two backlit people. I suspect the camera was trying to alert me that it couldn't get detail in the houses and sky at the same time.

The easy solution is to change to center-weighted or spot metering.
I don't have this problem anymore since I switched (for other reasons) to full manual mode, so I control the entire exposure.

I don't understand why you say the 7Hi is hard to use in manual mode - what I do with my 7i is set the camera to f/4,0 and use the dial to adjust shutter speed based on the image in the EVF - you rarely have a situation where you need faster than 1/2000 second or more depth of field than f/4.0 gives you on the 7xx.
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Old Apr 20, 2004, 9:24 AM   #3
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I guess I wasn't very clear with my statement that manual mode on the 7Hi isn't easy to use. I guess it is really one of the easiest, what I should have said was that I found using the LCD displays a rather inaccurate way to determine exposure. Part of the problem is that the brightness of the displays is controlled by a camera setting (which is a good thing), but it does make it more difficult to preview exposure. For example, if you have the display set to a high brightness setting because of ambient light, you might be fooled into setting the camera to underexpose. When I do this I use the EV to judge exposure and I have calibrated the brightness setting to closely match the picture the camera takes. I THINK that was a brightness setting of 3, but I don't have the camera here. It is harder to do this with the LCD diplay because it is more influenced by ambient light. Many other digital cameras have some type of +/- or sliding exposure scale to simulate a light meter. While the Minolta method may be "easier to use" I find the other methods more accurate.
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Old Apr 20, 2004, 1:54 PM   #4
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I have always been a manual setting guy and I do find Minolta 7i to be great for that purpose. I find the LCD or EVF to be fairly accurate in judging the exposure. Never used the program setting and never used matrix metering mode either. Always spot meter the scene. It gives more control.

Thanks for knowing the problem though.
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